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Land

 Land | Climate | Environmental DegradationNatural Vegetation | Districts

Land - Coastal Plains | Middle Mountainous Country | Plateaus and Rolling up Lands

The Lakes, Lagoons and Marshes:

The lakes in Orissa can broadly be classified as natural and artificial. They can also be classified on the basis of salt content of the water. The most important reservoirs are at Balimela, on the river Sileru, Rengali over the Brahmani, Mandira over the Sankh, a tributary to the Brahmani near Rourkela and upper Indravati in the river Indravati. Among the natural ones Chilika lake is the most famous and largest of its kind in India.

The area of lake fluctuates in different seasons. During dry weather, it approximates to 891 Km whereas with the intensity and duration of the annual river floods and with the ebb and flow of tides, its area extends to 1,165 Sq Km. Chilika is the one of the most important tourist spot because of its natural beauty. It has also been declared a bird sanctuary by the government of Orissa. A lot of birds from as far as Siberia migrate to this lake during the winter. It is also famous for pawn and crab fishing which have a good market in foreign countries. There is a marsh, Udyanakhanda, on the coast at Ichhapur on the boarder of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh whose water is blackish. The Sar lake, the Samagarapata and the Tampara are only three old lagoons initially cut-off from the Bay of Bengal. Lake Anusha is another fresh water lake on the left bank of the Mahanadi.

Bays and Islands:

In Orissa only one Bay, Hukitola bay, off Jambu has been formed. There are only two islands. One, off the Orissa coast and the other off the Mahanadi estuary. These are depositional islands. They are the Shortt's Island and Wheeler Islands off Maipura and Dhamra.

Natural Harbours:

There is only one natural harbour in Orissa i.e. Paradeep. It is the deepest natural port in the whole of India  and provides berthing facilities to ships of more than 60,000 GRT (Gross registered tonnage). Chandbali and Gopalpur are medium ports. Dhamra is a minor fishing port.

Middle Mountainous Country

The mountainous portions of Orissa cover about three-fourth of entire state as per present configuration and hence determine the economic standard of the state.       

The middle mountainous region is morphologically divided into the following regions 

a) The Similipal and Meghasani mountain

b) The Mankarnacha-Malayagiri and Gandhamardar mountains of the Baitarani and the Brahmani interfluves.

c) The watershed between the Brahmani and the Mahanadi 

d) The common interfluves of the Mahanadi, the Rushikulya and the Vamsadhara 

e) The Potangi and Chandragiri mountain ranges.

a) The Similipal and Meghasani Mountain:

The dome-shaped mountain is of volcanic origin and has an elevation ranging from 600 meters to 1,050 meters above the sea level. It is almost circular in extension and has got two peaks, one at Similipal and the other at Meghasani. The radial pattern of drainage is its peculiarity.

b) The Mankarnacha-Malayagiri and Gandhanadar mountains of the Baitarani and Brahmani interfluves:

This group of mountains with three lofty peaks extends in a north-south direction. All these mountains are a part of Eastern Ghats whose original trend is NE to SW. This area is a polycyclic region.

c) Watershed between Brahmani and Mahanadi:

The evolution of these mountains is similar in character with that of the former region. But these are more maturely dissected by continued action of Mahanadi and the Brahmani. The trend of these  mountains is NW in northern portion, and NNW to SSE in the southern portion.

d) The Common Interfluves of the Mahanadi: The Rushikulya and the Vamsadhara

This water shed is deeply eroded and the height varies from 600 to 1000 meters in elevation. This interfluves stretches in the north-south direction with several peaks rising above 1,200 meters.

e) The Potangi and Chandragiri mountain ranges:

These mountain ranges are highest in Orissa and the average height varies form 900 to1,350 meters. The first five highest peaks in the Eastern Ghats are encountered in these mountains. The Deomali peak is the highest in Orrisa with an elevation of 1,672 meters and is the tallest in the whole of the Eastern Ghats. The mountains completely separate the Nagavale and the Sabari basins. They are highly dissected and in the valleys terrace cultivation is practiced. The hilltops are bare of vegetation because of shifting cultivation.

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